Thursday, July 15, 2010

One 1/4 mile at a time

Um ... hello.

I was an original Cincy Loser. Now, when it comes to weight loss, I'm really just a loser. I completely gave up.

In 2007, I put on tons of weight due to several deaths in the family. So in 2008, I got myself a trainer, worked out with her diligently for 6 mos, all in an attempt to lose the funeral weight. I even ate better.

NOTHING HAPPENED. Seriously, getting a trainer was not the best use of my time or money. She never taught me the things I wanted to know (like how to correctly use the machines instead of how to modify the machines in ways she thought were better) and I neither lost weight nor gained muscle. She was a great person though, and currently the head trainer at my old gym.

I was ballroom dancing once a week too, but that (which I'm still doing) is an incredible amount of fun but not necessarily always challenging to my muscles. Ballroom dancing is now more of a stress reliever for me than a way to exercise.

I started traveling again in late 2008 and truthfully, I haven't really stopped. Staying healthy and traveling is a really hard thing to do, and I'm a big sucker when it comes to being lazy.

Where does that leave me? Way too overweight and not happy about it.

Me now. Even the groundhog
thinks I should get in shape.

I've had this weird flirtation going on with my bicycle for a year. Last year, I was amazingly inspired by my friend Jen, who has become a cycling goddess in less than 2 years. I got my poor dusty bike out of storage. I have a nice bike, a fancy Cannondale purchased for me about 15 years ago. 15 years ago I rode it twice before I decided that I was afraid of cars.

So, I stared at my bike for the last year. In June, before a 3-week round of travel, I dropped off my bike at the shop for a tune-up, cobwebs, rotted tires, and all. The cycle guys just stared at me then made fun of the cobwebs.

I picked the thing up - tuned up, new wheels, and shiny - on July 2, the day after I returned home from my trip, and proceeded to stare at it for two weeks. I made up all sorts of excuses, which included buying a bike lock and a helmet, amongst other things I don't need.

Monday I got on the bike. I have such a huge fear of cars and I'm terribly out of shape, so this was a pretty big deal. I rode around 2 blocks in my neighborhood, coming in at .94 mi. When I came back on Monday, I walked into my kitchen and fell down. My legs were - without exaggeration - jelly. I downed several bottles of water and dragged myself to the couch. By the end of Monday, my abs were hurting, my back muscles, and my shoulders and arms (from clutching the handles for dear life).

Tuesday I made myself get back on the bike and do it again - same route. I was still a little jelly when I came back, but I didn't collapse. My abs hurt less and I think I actually relaxed a little in my upper body.

Yesterday I was downtown all day, so there was no way I could have ridden the bike. But today I made myself get back on the damned thing and I rode 1.30 mi. (I added a block.) I know it's not much. I have friends who regularly ride 70-100 miles every weekend and here I am cheering about a mile and a quarter. But I'm so terribly out of shape ... Tomorrow I'm adding another block, I think. Or I might keep the same distance and change up the route. It's not all flat either. I hadn't realized how many gently sloping hills we had around here. (Hell going up, but fun coming down.)

I have it in my head that I can do this. I want to be able to ride to the grocery store - and back - which is 4 miles roundtrip and I want to do it by the end of summer. It's a physical challenge for me - and a mental one. There are a helluva lot of cars between me and the grocery store.

I also desperately need to find a gym. Near me, there is an LA Fitness, a Better Bodies, and an Urban Active. I want to do a free week at each and make up my mind. I hate gyms with a passion because I prefer to be alone when I work out. If I had a spot in my house for an elliptical machine, you would never ever find me at a gym. Picking out a gym is hard; making me go to one is about like pulling teeth.

My ultimate goal? Well, I'm not really looking at this in pounds or inches any more. I want my clothes to fit better and I want to feel better about myself. I also have promised myself a reward.

I love Seattle and our own Cincy Loser Laura has moved out there and is an avid cyclist. There's a town near Seattle called Skagit Valley that each spring erupts in tulips. If I can keep cycling, and stay in shape over the winter, I want to fly out to see Laura next spring and take a ride through the tulips. That's my reward.

Photo by kashyap_hc, used under a CC license

Monday, July 12, 2010

I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaack!

Tap…tap…tap…is this thing on? Ew, I haven’t seen this must dust since I pulled that treadmill out from under the bed. You still there? It’s been a while, eh? That’s enough snickering from the skinny bitch on the left and you over there, PUT.DOWN.THE.TWINKIE – just cause I’ve gone off the rails doesn’t mean you gotta go with me!

Yeah, it’s Amy – ten pounds heavier than when we last met – back for another crack at this crazy little think called please God make my ass smaller, er, I mean weight loss. Success shall be mine! And before you roll your eyes and mumble (as my husband did) “yeah, sure, we’ve heard this before”, let me tell you that I’m just coming off my first week back in the saddle and I’m down TWO POUNDS thank you very much.
(bows and waits patiently for applause to die down)

Ok, so what’s different this time? I’m not going to Weight Watchers right now. While I think the WW program is one of the best things out there, I needed to shake it up. When I was working the program, it was half-hearted and I knew more drastic measures were needed.

What drastic measures you ask (with that trademark look of horror on your face)? Don’t worry - no surgery, no crazy pills, no clinically diagnosed bulimia, anorexia, etc. No folks, by drastic I mean EATING LESS and MOVING MORE. Gasp – sometimes you gotta kick it old-school simple.

Our family joined Silverlake last month and I’ve been working with a trainer for the last couple weeks. I’m doing strength training with him twice a week and cardio on my own 3-4 times a week. He is also guiding me on my eating (more on that next week if you're lucky) – challenging me to staying under 1467 calories a day and upping my protein intake drastically.

So far, so good. I haven’t been starving, and saying NO to certain things is easier than usual. I’m trying to take it one day at a time. I have a reminder on my phone every day, it dings and a message pops up asking: WHEN ARE YOU EXERCISING TODAY? Then I carve out some time in a given day – even if it is just a walk, something everyday.

Two things I’m working on this week:

1) Putting work-out clothes (6 days worth) in my car w/shoes & socks. Then there is no rushing around in the morning tracking things down which could easily lead to an excuse NOT to work out. I washed and packed everything on Sunday night - I’m set for the week.

2) My trainer said that 25% of my intake should come from protein-rich sources. So I’m looking for more sources of protein. Let’s face it, I can’t just walk around with a sirloin in my purse and gnaw on it every time I get the urge. Well, I could but people would likely stare. So I’m on the hunt for portable, convenient ways to protein-a-fy my daily snacks. Easy additions so far have been hardboiled eggs and these terrific POWER CRUNCH bars! Check them out they are terrific. A little pricey if you get them at the gym, but I found them on Amazon for ½ the price Silverlake charges, so I ordered a box. Cookies & Cream is my favorite flavor, but they are all good! If you have any protein ideas that don’t involved meat products in my purse –leave ‘em here in the comments, would ya?

To me, this time around has to be manageable – nothing complicated, nothing crazy.